"How long, Cataline, will you abuse our patience?" -Cicero
Sarah Palin, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh have figured out what progressive media -- including this publication -- have not. If only heard and commented upon by their own audiences, like Fox and their radiostations and Facebook page, they would not amount to very much.
In fact, their utterances are designed mostly to get a hearing by the progressive media. Ed Schultz does "psychotalk". Keith Olbermann has "worst people in the world". Liberal bloggers and Rachel Maddow take unending delight in pointing out the hypocrisy, stupidity, factlessness of their pronouncements.
That is exactly what they want.
They play the media and progressive bloggers like violins. What does Limbaugh say when Palin's book is released? "This is clearly a woman who loves policy". Predictably, and instantly, cable news and the blogosphere become apoplectic. [I am told there is little if anything in the book about policy]. Limbaugh was rewarded with dishonorable mentions, exactly the publicity he craves, while Schultz/Olbermann/Matthews/Maddow believed, erroneously, that they had "explained" to Limbaugh's listeners what a crock of BS he is.
They do not care.
The mistake "we" make is to assume that these people are actually as embarrassed as you or I would be to make such absurd statements. They have no capacity for embarrassment--or, as an old saying goes, they cry all the way to the bank. Indeed, the more they are pilloried, the higher their stock among the faithful because it shows to their faithful that they are consequential people; and, if you are consequential, what you are saying must have merit, mustn't it?
It is not rightwing talk radio or Fox, but the progressive cable networks and the netroots that give them their cache.
What about a different approach? One in which no one mentions either their names or their nonsense outside of their own little world? What would happen?
First, they will become even more idiotic, tempting, tempting, tempting the media to report their pronouncements. Then, they will become angry for lack of coverage. Eventually, they will be greatly diminished.
Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) basked in the limelight until he was censured by the Senate. With his gavel gone and the cameras off, he became distraught, bitter, and alcoholic.
Today, McCarthy would have received a cushy position at the Heritage Foundation, where he would have the opportunity of interacting with like-minded people, and appear on Fox as an expert on Communism. With all the communists surrounding Obama (I think Valerie Jarret's grandmother once knew one, so q.e.d), he would be back in his element. Such a perch might have saved him from alcoholism and premature death (age 48, just 30 months after censure). But it would never be the same for him.
Ignore Sarah, Rush and Glen and they will become just what they are -- inconsequential, spewing hatred and nonsense to their fellow travelers. If Heritage and other rightwing belief tanks want to purchase advance copies of their "books" to make it appear as if they are widely read and influential, let them.
And, no, we do not have to "expose" them for fear, like the Hitler they refer to, their views will become widely adopted. There are many others on the right fringe that espouse similar views, and the ideas can be criticized, and hypocrisy revealed, without referring to the triumvirate.
We do not need to give them air or electronic print recognition to provide them ego-satisfaction and encouragement by thinking that we care about what they say, or do.
I urge this publication and like-minded ones not to write another article about what Palin said on her Facebook page, or what Beck hallucinated, or Limbaugh contrived. I also urge my fellow bloggers to resist the temptation to demonstrate their hypocrisy (and, yes, I have succumbed to this, once, myself, when Limbaugh was in hospital in Hawaii and declared it a great system), or idiocy. Hopefully, the cablenews networks will heed the call as well.
Eventually, these people will achieve the anonymity they so richly deserve.